Riot cops in fancy gear
greg konstantinidis's inventory of the potentially lethal weapons of the city's riot troopers (NOW, April 12-18) was interesting as far as it went.
But I am curious about the new Ridley Scott outfits, the Darth Vader helmets, the standard-issue sunglasses (worn on what was a dull day) and the face-obscuring balaclava hats, which are, after all, the preferred headgear of bank robbers and terrorists. There are flashy paramilitary arm patches, but where are the names and numbers of these officers?
For an afternoon, a little bit of Bloor Street looked like an occupied territory.
-G. James, Toronto
Nasty, fly-attracting ideas
re media fawn over protests (NOW, April 12-18). Whenever I read O.G. Pamp's letters, I stick my head into a bucket of ice-cold water first, just to make sure I'm stone cold sober.
His latest collection of hoary stereotypes ("storm troopers, cardboard revolutionaries, street thugs, puerile neo-Marxist twaddle, dog-eared slogans") once again makes me think this is a giant put-on. But there is not one atom of verbal evidence for this. Nor am I so cynical as to believe that NOW has created him to draw a flood of letters. No. Pamp means what he says. Pure and simple.
So what is he saying? Any, indeed all, of those who object to the anti-democratic tendencies of globalization are merely Commie dupes, lackeys of North Korea, goose-stepping our way to laughable redundancy.
I suppose if O.G. Pamp were in charge of the Quebec City Summit, he would have the fence around the whole city. There, that would fix our nasty, smelly, fly-attracting ideas.
-Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Making a move on rail lines the ttc
(now, april 12-18) is such a mixed bag -- it gives excellent service through the heroic efforts of its operating personnel but suffers from obsolescent infrastructure, crisis management and political neglect.
It's unfortunate that the TTC management cannot look beyond its jurisdiction. It dismisses suburban transit systems as being insignificant and rejects modern, automated fare collection, with its potential to break urban-suburban transit barriers, in favour of inflexible tokens and paper transfers.
The train that Richard Soberman demonstrates going the wrong way for commuters is part of the problem and the solution.
The railways crossing the GTA are an underutilized resource. Presently, GO Transit offers one-way service on most of its lines, with two-way service only on the Lakeshore line and at one-hour intervals in off-peak hours -- all of it run with sluggish diesel power.
Commuter rail, if electrified and operated at close intervals, can provide the equivalent of rapid transit and can be rapidly implemented.
Such a rapid transit solution would solve the travelling problems of far more people than live in the city of Toronto.
Most traffic in Toronto originates outside the city limits. One cannot solve traffic problems and car dependency by looking at transit from within the city only.
The solution is there in front of us.
- John M. Thompson Toronto
Pennies to foil fare hike
as an occasional user of the ttc, I am quite upset that my toonie will not be enough to get on a subway or bus come June 1. Soon I will have to fish for an extra quarter. So I, in turn, will be paying with rolls of pennies while announcing, "I do not support a TTC fare hike."
If the whole population of Toronto did the same, if only for a few weeks, I'm sure the ensuing chaos would be enough for the TTC to reconsider the 25-cent cash fare hike. I encourage people to step forward and fight for what's right. The toonie is so much more convenient.
- Anthony LaChance, Newmarket
Cycles and streetcar tracks
what don't drivers understand about bicyclists and streetcar tracks?
My concern here stems from years of research into driver behaviour on the east-west downtown routes (College, Dundas, Queen and King, all of which carry streetcars).
On these routes, cyclists operate in a narrow band between parked cars on the right, an often bumpy, hazard-filled strip of pavement.
I personally give all parked cars a wide berth of approximately one door length as a daily homage to the many spaced-out motorists who have creamed me with their doors over the years. Consequently, I usually ride nearer to the track than to the parked cars, in what drivers definitely perceive as their space. They honk and buzz me, screaming obscenities.
If motorists could only get in tune with the actual width of their cars (they perceive them to be about 4 feet wider on either side than they are), they could occupy this central piece of road and never come near cyclists.
- Andrew Rucklidge, Toronto
Sounds like he's not a fan
for some reason, i've somehow read Tim Perlich's reviews for years, but I've thankfully realized why: they make me feel better about myself. Want to know why, Tim? Because you're pathetic. You're an ageist (unless you're writing about a Cuban, a blues legend or someone from Africa) and ironically you hate music.
Your reviews are a joyless voyage into elitism. Have you ever composed a song? I'd love to hear it. The only reason you have a gig is the simple fact that you've been at NOW for half a goddamn century.
You know what, Timmy? Most of the musicians in this town know you're a dick. How's that feel?
If you didn't write for NOW, you'd be waitering at the local pub, and you know it. You epitomize what's wrong with this city. Oh, yeah, you're better than Nicky Sudden.
-Scott Wilyman, Toronto
Words of a Christian God
nicholas garrison, what a wonderful job you have done placing the Sikhs above Christianity (NOW, April 5-11). I'm sure your parents are very proud of you.
Of course being Christian, I must point out a few mistakes in your article.
First, your very intelligent friend jokingly said, "It is impossible to think about God when you are thinking about your stomach." Although this might be a witty statement, it is not true, at least not with the Christian God. Perhaps you remember how Jesus walked into the desert and had no food or water for 40 days. In fact, fasting is a great way to speak with God -- the Christian God, that is.
If it were a Christian saying no one is allowed if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it would probably be said sarcastically that Christians are such saints. But a Sikh says it and you make a statement, "This is not announced as a solemn vow or a claim to saintliness, but as if it were the most natural thing in the world."
-Mark Harding Meaford, Ontario
Sucker for lousy one-liners
this is a response to the review Glenn Sumi gave to the latest Second City review, Family Circus Maximus (NOW, April 12-18). His argument for giving the show such a poor rating is his love for SNL. He states that they "produce 90 minutes of good sketch comedy every week," so why can't Second City do the same with months of rehearsal time?
Well, I guess Second City didn't have the quality time to come up with such two-dimensional characters as Goat Boy, one-joke sketches that go on for 20 minutes or guest hosts like Heather Graham showing off her own comedic talents with a flat impression of Britney Spears.
Instead they went for sketches that aim at a higher level of intellect, like Charlton Heston promoting guns for children, a recently divorced mother chatting with a not-so-forgiving God or a multitude of physical sketches that defy any cheesy one-liner about Bill Clinton's out-of-office practices.
So if you want to stick with those weekly "good sketches," save your money and stay up late Saturday night. Or if you have an IQ above that of the average beaver and want to see true comedy, put down some bucks and check out the latest Second City review. The power is in your hands.
-Paul Constable, Toronto